As a fan of Japanese streetwear, do you wonder about the best brands offering this style of clothing? What are the best Japanese Streetwear brands? Where to buy Japanese clothes?
We looked in depth for what you are looking for because at Kanji Streetwear, we are as passionate as you are, and as a Japanese Streetwear brand, we have to offer a wide choice of clothes, no matter where they come from.
There are many streetwear brands on the market, but what about Japanese streetwear brands? This fashion is illustrated in Japan, and more particularly in Tokyo in areas such as Harajuku or Shibuya, has found its followers and is now exported to Western countries.
As a young lover of Japanese fashion, you are going to discover in this article the 10 Best Japanese streetwear brands from which you will be able to buy your best outfits. But first, we suggest you check this Law of Nature Japanese Hoodie.
Is it done? Let's go!
Japanese Streetwear Brand #10: BAPE
Everyone knows at least the surface story of A Bathing Ape. Started by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao) in 1993, sold to I.T in 2011, BAPE has a noticeable air of hip-hop inspiration and is basically the Japanese Streetwear mascot. Pretty much everybody knows BAPE nowadays, but how did they make themselves known?
The international reputation of the BAPE trademark was forged in the early 2000s. It all started in the United States, with artists such as Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Fall Out Boy, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne who either carried the brand, promoted it, or collaborated with it. Very much in vogue in the streetwear world in the mid-2000s, the brand's popularity subsequently declined until it was taken over by I.T.
But this Japanese Streetwear brand hasn't said its last word. When I.T. bought it, its creator, Nigo, decided to leave the company two years later, judging that he wasn't good enough to keep the brand going. From 2013, I.T. skillfully returns to its original strategy based on exclusivity.
BAPE is known for its ingenious marketing strategies, consisting of controlling supply and demand. Indeed, when its collections are released, the brand offers its products in limited editions, in order to create a demand effect. Its collaborations in very limited editions (Reebok, DC Shoes, Casio, Ferrari) make BAPE a high-class Japanese streetwear brand that appeals to such an extent that current artists are honoring it nowadays (A$AP Rocky, Future, Khalid...).
Japanese Streetwear Brand #9: NEIGHBORHOOD JAPAN
Started in 1994 by Shinsuke Takizawa in Tokyo, Neighborhood brings together different cultures and styles in its collections: military clothing, biker spirit, American streetwear, and the perfection of Japanese fashion. Today, this Japanese streetwear brand is considered one of the most influential brands in the streetwear world. Neighborhood can be found through collaborations with Adidas, Bape, Vlone, or Mastermind, making the brand famous.
Each time, the essence of these universes is clearly visible in order to create a common vision. The vision of people living in the same neighborhood, so different and yet so close at the same time. NEIGHBORHOOD's philosophy is to merge universes such as that of motorcyclists and soldiers by integrating them into a unique clothing.
For the FW20 season, NEIGHBORHOOD offers complete and original collections. It is marked by the presence of pieces with military, workwear and sportswear inspirations. The designer Shinsuke Takizawa once again shows the extent of his talent by offering clothes with new and seductive cuts.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #8: FPAR/WTAPS
In 1993, Tetsu Nishiyama began making his products under the name "Forty Percent Against Rights" on the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo. This brand offers bold text graphics and provocative slogans on T-Shirts. The name stems from the fact that if an artwork was modified by at least 40 percent, the rights to that particular artwork no longer existed.
A few years later, in 1996, Tetsu 'Tet' Nishiyama reappeared with a new brand called WTAPS (pronounced Double Taps; the W sounds a lot like "double" in Japanese) based on military style. Tet is now seen as one of the cultural leaders of Japanese streetwear fashion in Tokyo, and his clothes are highly recognized in the Japanese fashion scene.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #7: Bounty Hunter
Bounty Hunter started as a toy store with a strong focus on the Star Wars universe. Founded by Hikaru Iwanaga, the Japanese shop started its activities in streetwear in 1995. Its name Bounty Hunter refers to the character Boba Fett, and the brand draws its inspiration from toys and punk culture.
Bounty Hunter began to gain popularity in Tokyo's Harajuku district, where the original store is located. This high-end Japanese streetwear brand takes its inspiration, as we have seen, from the world of toys and punk culture, but also from biker culture. Its clothes are known for their predominantly black color and for the biker motifs on its t-shirts, hoodies, and headwear.
Having kept its line from the beginning, and thanks to its collaborations with Cav Empt, Kaws, and Bape, this Japanese streetwear brand has maintained its popularity in Japan and internationally since the beginning.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #6: Number (N)ine
Created in 1996 by Takahiro Miyashita, Number (N)ine is a more ambitious brand than the brands we described earlier. Indeed, Number (N)ine's designers tend to go deeper into design concepts, and this makes it an original brand that takes risks.
Taking its name from the music "Revolution 9" by The Beatles, the Japanese streetwear brand found its influence in music much more than its contemporaries. The brand's Fall/Winter 2008 and 2009 collections are the most popular and most appreciated by the public.
Number (N)ine, like Bape, changed ownership, and the original owner left because of numerous disagreements on the creative side of the brand, and on the management side of the business. Nowadays, Number (N)ine is known for its t-shirts and jeans, which we invite you to check out here: Number (N)ine.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #5: Sophnet
Sophnet, or Soft, created in 1998, is another brand that doesn't have much airtime in the West but is certainly a pioneer in the pantheon of legendary Japanese streetwear brands. Rather than being influenced by punk style like many of his contemporaries, creator Hirofumi Kiyonaga made it minimal appealing to Japanese sensibilities of minimalism, using contemporary western apparel.
Sophnet has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Stussy and Vans, and artists like Tatsuo Miyajima, Jack Pierson, and Julian Opie. Building on its success, Sophnet has led to two other brands, Uniform Experiment and F.C. Real Bristol. The first is based on classy and classic streetwear, while the second is an invented football club, selling football shirts, t-shirts and hoodies.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #4: Vanquish
Started by Ryo Ishikawa in 2005, Vanquish made its name by banking on the Japanese trends of the period and maintained its presence by allying itself with big names and heavy endorsements. Its Denim By collections often teamed up with pragma design due to the Ryo Ishikawa relationship with Hiroshi Fujiwara and is well known for providing some of the best trend-based denim in Japan.
Recent years have seen Vanquish expand into other areas with brands like FR2 (Fxxking Rabbits), for more street centric offerings, and Legenda for grunge aesthetic. But Vanquish itself as a brand remains one of the best street labels to get started with authentic Japanese street style.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #3: CAV EMPT
Started in 2011, Cav Empt, the abbreviation of Caveat Emptor which means "attention buyer", is a creation of the Japanese Sk8thing, who is also BAPE's designer. This brand is an ode to the original concept of streetwear: no frills, no super high production runways, no crazy collaborations, no unnecessary hype, just stuff that makes sense.
And even with this mindset and artistic direction, it's commonly admitted that Cav Empt is a UFO in the clothing world. The label offers all kinds of pieces with graphic and psychedelic designs, reflecting the brand's cyberpunk and futuristic style.
Cav Empt's latest collection is an example of it. It mixes very graphic pieces with basic but colorful garments. Through this collection, the designer takes a critical look at society's obsession with new technologies. We can find an oversized jacket with a violet cut and zipper for the most beautiful effect; a very iconic piece of this successful collection.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #2: Hysteric Glamour
Hysteric Glamour stated in 1984 under the helm of Nobuhiko Kitamura. Taking on the motif of Western rock from the 60s to the 80s, Hysteric Glamour quite literally paved the way for many brands after it by embracing Western pop culture and proved that it had a place in Japan.
Hysteric Glamour clothes depict musicians like Marc Bolan and the Sex Pistols and art work by Andy Warhol. Hysteric Glamour features T-Shirts, Jeans, Cardigans, Tank Tops, whose designs are based on several themes: comics, automobiles, package designs, or neon signs.
In 2013, the brand started collaborating with Playboy to create fashion wear. Four years later, Hysteric Glamour collaborated with Supreme, offering products such as belts, jackets, and beanies in its F/W 17 collection.
Japanese Streetwear Brand #1: Kanji Streetwear
Are we being modest? No. Are we objective? No. Will you like our collections? Yes.
Kanji Streetwear is a young Japanese streetwear brand launched in early 2020. Its goal is to satisfy the urban fashion needs of Westerners, streetwear shops being particularly empty of Japanese streetwear.
From cargo pants with straps to Japanese hoodies and techwear sneakers, Kanji Streetwear has earned the trust of its customers with more than 5000 orders since its launch, making it a promising Japanese streetwear brand.
Here, no site in Japanese, no extravagant prices (we see you, BAPE), no physical shop only available in Japan. Only authenticity, prestige, beautiful clothes, and refined Japanese designs. Are you ready to discover us? Then let's do it. We refer you to our best sellers to maximize our chances of pleasing you:
And since we know that you appreciate streetwear wherever it comes from, we found a great shop that will please all durag lovers: Durag US. You will appreciate the quality of their products as well as the variety of headwear they have.
→ Do not hesitate to go and see their collections of durag!